Vanuatu is a once in a lifetime place to dive. It has one of the world’s greatest shore dives – the historic wreck of the President Coolidge. Combined with the beautiful, warm, tropical waters and reefs both close and shallow enough to snorkel straight off the beach (all filled with an abundance of fish), Vanuatu is an absolute must for any SCUBA diving bucket list. A huge variety of sea life call the waters of the small island nation home: Anemone Fish can be found in the ever present coral garden shallows, there are Batfish that approach every diver with their friendly nature, and the always amazing Sweet Lips.
The President Coolidge wreck is a spectacular submerged cruise ship that was converted to a troop transport for use in the Second World War, but was subsequently sunk by a friendly mine. Fortunately for divers, all the equipment inside the wreck was left and so the cargo holds are now full of old military wares such as artillery and trucks. Huge guns still sit near the bow and, when combined with the internal statues and chandeliers of the dining hall, it gives a great contrast to the ship and the final era it sailed in.
There are plenty of different dives to do on the wreck and some of the highlights include:
Flashlight fish night dive, with the total darkness of the wreck’s insides you are helped onto a beam and from that vantage point you get to watch one of the best light shows on the planet. Thousands of small flashlight fish dart around the black cargo holds and the result is a multitude of small lights, akin to stars, zooming all around you. It truly is a sight you will never forget.
The medical supplies, with old remedy jars lining the walls of this large cabin it would make a fantastic place to visit above land. But add diving to it and you have an amazing history lesson. A few of the jars have had the barnacles cleaned away and powders are still visible inside the bottles. This dive usually leads you out through the cargo hold which is another great section of the ship.
The pool, is exactly what it sounds like, a swimming pool down in the depths of the stern. With rusted eerie rusted ladders and amazingly colourful tiles, why not have a little fun and do some laps whilst you visit this luxurious area of the wreck.
Million Dollar Point
The Coolidge is certainly not the only fantastic dive site to visit if you’re in the area. Million Dollar Point is another amazing and unique place to dive. After the war ended, a huge amount of machinery including bulldozers, trucks, cranes and every other sort of wartime support vehicle stationed in Vanuatu, was dumped off a pier and left to rust. The result is a gigantic underwater playground and museum. If you have ever wanted that photo of yourself sitting behind the wheel of a car while underwater this is the place to do it.
So why not explore the amazing diving to be had in this tropical paradise? At the end of a full day diving you can sit back and enjoy the pristine beaches. And “if you like Pina Coladas” have one whilst you recount diving like you have never experienced it before.